When God declared “Let us make man in our image” (Genesis 1:26) He was expressing not only His own ’three-in-one’ togetherness, but also His great purpose in creating men and women who would join together in unity and reproduce His image in all the earth! The story of the miraculous catch and the calling of the first disciples (Luke 5) is a powerful example of what can happen when we prepare for a new day, make ourselves wholly available, go deeper, join together, and help each other handle the great increase He wants to give us! This is the power and potential of churches working in partnership with one another…
“So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.” It encompasses all that God is about, all that God feels about us, all that God feels towards us, all that God is. Because God is love. He is a father that loves you! This morning it is vitally important to know this: He is filled with “love and compassion” towards us, even if we are a “long way off”. We have a loving Father; He “sees” us, He is filled with love and compassion towards us, He will come to us – we walk, but He “runs” to us.
In Part 1 we looked at the Holy’s Spirit’s work of Sanctification in our lives. In Part 2, we consider how the Holy Spirit uses the Word of God to show us who God has made us to be, and what aspects of our personalities are influenced by sin. We also look at what it means for us to be transformed from one degree of glory to another through a growing REVELATION of Jesus (2 Co 3:18), by REFLECTING His image, and REFRACTING His glory through our lives. The key to surrendering to the sanctifying work of the Spirit is VALIDATION and VULNERABILITY – drawing our value and worth from Him, and being willing to let the Holy Spirit strip away sin’s influence on our personalities. What remains is the true person, created and designed by God to individually refract His glorious light – a unique and precious Living Stone!
In part 2 of this message we are introduced to God as the master architect, who has a master plan – for his Kingdom be be extended and established on earth. How does he choose to do this? Through his people, the Church. We therefore learn that God’s plan for our lives is never independent of the Church. Actually we can only fully outwork his plan for our life in the context of church, because it’s the church that is his master plan. When we realise what the church is (which we find in the book of Ephesians), and who fills it, it stops being something that we attend. It starts to become part of our everyday lives, as we see His Kingdom established.
God’s House is built with Living Stones (1 Pe 2:5), each carefully selected and put in place by the Holy Spirit. In Part 1 we consider how the Holy Spirit shapes each stone – that great work of the Spirit in the Sanctification of believers, shaping us into the likeness of Christ (Ro 8:29). We’ll also discuss how our new birth into God’s kingdom, restores God’s original design for His tripartite humanity, by which our spirits are promoted to the driving seat of our lives (the proper seat for righteous decision making!). Through His work of Sanctification, the Spirit helps us to bring our souls and bodies into line with God’s restored special arrangement within us (Ro 12:1-2). In Part 2 we’ll consider what unique aspects of ourselves are preserved, in the process of the Spirit making us more like Jesus, and how they might diversely and richly display God’s glory.